Ultramarine (updated February 2018)Ultramarine has been covered in more depth in a previous post. It is a warm blue so leans toward purple - they all have a hint of red in them. They will mix with a rose or pink to create beautiful clear purples, and with a yellow to make slightly neutralised greens. Here are a number of examples all made with PB29 (though one is a two pigment mix). They vary in how easily they re-wet, the amount of granulation and also slightly in hue. My favourites are Da Vinci and Daniel Smith, though I also like the new Schmincke French Ultramarine added in 2017. These photos are taken under 'sunlight' bulbs with no adjustment for best comparison.
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine - Art Spectrum, French Ultramarine Blue Deep - Blockx, French Ultramarine Light - Blockx, Ultramarine Blue - Daniel Smith, French Ultramarine - Daniel Smith.|
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: French Ultramarine Permanent (RS) - Da Vinci, Ultramarine Blue - Da Vinci, Ultramarine (Green Shade) - Da Vinci, French Ultramarine - Daler Rowney, Permanent Blue - Daler Rowney.|
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Light - Holbein, Ultramarine Deep - Holbein, Ultramarine Blue Light - Lukas, Ultramarine Blue Deep - Lukas, Ultramarine Blue - M.Graham.|
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Light - Mission Gold, Ultramarine Deep - Mission Gold, Ultramarine Blue Deep - Old Holland, Olutramarine Blue - Old Holland, French Ultramarine Light Extra - Old Holland.|
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Deep - MaimeriBlu, Lutramarine Light - MaimeriBlu, Ultramarine Deep - Sennelier, French Ultramarine Blue - Senelier, Ultramarine Light - Sennelier.|
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine - St Petersburg, Ultramarine Blue - Schmincke, Ultramarine - White Nights, Ultramarine (Green Shade) Winsor & Newton, French Ultramarine Blue - Winsor & Newton.|
|Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Blue Deep - Wallace Seymour.|
|Cobalt Blue W&N, Cobalt Blue ShinHan, Cobalt Blue Hue Derivan, Cobalt Blue AS, Cobalt Blue DS PB28.|
|Cerulean Blue Derivan, Cerulean Blue W&N, Cerulean Blue (Hue) Da Vinci, Cerulean Blue DS|
|Cerulean Genuine DV, Cerulean Blue Chromium DS, Cerulean Blue Deep OH, Cerulean Blue Genuine DV|
Phthalo BlueA cool and staining blue, phthalo blue is a very common colour in any palette. Available in Green Shade and Red Shade versions, with the green shade being the most common. Phthalo Blue Red Shade is another primary blue option if transparency, staining or non granulating properties are desired.
|Winsor Blue W&N, Phthalo Blue GS DS, Phthalo Blue GS DV, Phthalo Blue MG, Richeson Blue (Phthalo) SQ, Phthalo Blue RS DS.|
Prussian BlueNot one of my favourites, Prussian Blue is an alternative blue if a less staining cool blue is desired. Made from PB27. Easily mixed with Phthalo Blue and a warm red.
|Prussian Blue MG, Prussian Blue W&N, Prussian Blue DS, Prussian Blue DV|
Manganese BlueSadly most versions of Manganese Blue are hues and don't have the magical granulating characteristics of the genuine pigment, famous for painting snow effects. It is not an essential colour as it is not strongly tinting but quite beautiful.
Primatek BluesThese Daniel Smith colours are fascinating to try. I love the granulation of Blue Apatite Genuine and Sodalite Genuine, especially for stormy skies or a granulating grey option. Some were very disappointing.
|Kyanite Genuine, blue Apitite Genuine, Azurite Genuine, Smalt Genuine, Lapis Lazuli Genuine, Vivianite Genuine, Sodalite Genuine (all Daniel Smith)|
So how many to you need?Depending on the size of your palette, you may work with just one blue such as Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue RS that you warm up or cool down as required, two blues - probably both ultramarine and phthalo blue GS, three if you want to add the granulating and more opaque cerulean, four if you want to add the deep indanthrone blue, 5 if you want a granulating special effects blue....and so it goes on. The blues you choose need to work to make a good range of greens and purples and are very important colours on your palette. I like to have at least three - Ultramarine, Phthalo blue and Cerulean PB36. My basic palette of 20 also has Indanthrone blue, and I have Blue Apatite Genuine and Sodalite genuine and some others as special effect colours in my studio.
Watercolour Comparisons 1 - Ultramarine Blue here
Watercolour Comparisons 2 - mid yellows here
Watercolour Comparisons 3 - Primary Red here
Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna here
Watercolour Comparisons 5 - Greens (Single Pigment, convenience mixes and special effect) here
Watercolour Comparisons 6 - Reds (Cool, mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 7 - Yellows (cool mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues here